By Anugrah Kumar / Christian Post
A tribal group representing the Christian Kuki-Zo community in the northeast Indian state of Manipur is preparing to hold a mass burial for victims killed in the ongoing ethnic violence, a decision that has ignited fresh tensions and more violence.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum had previously announced that the mass burial would take place on Aug. 3. However, it was postponed at the request of India’s interior minister, Amit Shah, a tribal leader told The Christian Post, adding that preparations were in progress, but the exact date of the burial had not yet been announced.
The earlier announcement ignited fresh tensions and violence, as the proposed site was located in a “buffer zone” between the Hindu Meitei-dominated Bishnupur district and Churachandpur district, where the Kuki-Zo Christians reside. The Manipur High Court also passed an order against the planned burial.
Following a request from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the intervention of Chief Minister Zoramthanga from the neighboring Mizoram state, the ITLF decided to postpone the mass burial, de-escalating a likely fresh confrontation between the Kuki and Meitei communities.
The ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur since May 3 has left at least 150 dead, over 300 injured, thousands of houses and churches destroyed, and displaced more than 50,000 people.
There are at least 87 bodies lying unclaimed in hospitals in Imphal and Churachandpur. Many families have been unable to collect the bodies of their loved ones due to fear of attacks, while others wanted to keep the bodies without burial as a mark of protest.
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